Prime minister Rutte to attend European Council

The heads of state and government of the EU member states will meet at the European Council in Brussels on 24 and 25 March 2011.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte will attend the Council. The agenda includes a comprehensive package of measures to guarantee the EU's financial and economic stability.

The package includes strengthening the Stability and Growth Pact and the Pact for the Euro, which was agreed at the Eurozone Summit on 11 March 2011. The Netherlands will also draw attention to the letter that Mr Rutte, along with eight other heads of government, sent to the other members of the European Council. The letter contains proposals for promoting growth and competitiveness in the EU.

The Arab region

The heads of state and government will also discuss the situation in the Arab region, especially Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. They will follow up on the extraordinary European Council's declaration on the Arab region, especially Libya.

Disaster in Japan

The heads of state and government will also discuss the disaster in Japan and the EU aid package. The Netherlands has already provided expertise and is examining the possibility of augmenting the aid package. As to the situation around the nuclear power stations in Japan and possible implications for the EU, the Netherlands advocates avoiding hasty conclusions and awaiting a thorough analysis of the situation in Japan. When more is known about the disaster's economic impact, the EU will be able to decide on an appropriate response.